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E. J. Green
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  1. What Is an Object File?E. J. Green & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (3):665-699.
    The notion of an object file figures prominently in recent work in philosophy and cognitive science. Object files play a role in theories of singular reference, object individuation, perceptual memory, and the development of cognitive capacities. However, the philosophical literature lacks a detailed, empirically informed theory of object files. In this paper, we articulate and defend the multiple-slots view, which specifies both the format and architecture of object files. We argue that object files represent in a non-iconic, propositional format that (...)
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  2. A Pluralist Perspective on Shape Constancy.E. J. Green - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The ability to perceive the shapes of things as enduring through changes in how they stimulate our sense organs is vital to our sense of stability in the world. But what sort of capacity is shape constancy, and how is it reflected in perceptual experience? This paper defends a pluralist account of shape constancy: There are multiple kinds of shape constancy centered on geometrical properties at various levels of abstraction, and properties at these various levels feature in the content of (...)
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  3. The Perception-Cognition Border: Architecture or Format?E. J. Green - 2023 - In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 469-493.
  4. Problems and mysteries of the many languages of thought.Eric Mandelbaum, Yarrow Dunham, Roman Feiman, Chaz Firestone, E. J. Green, Daniel Harris, Melissa M. Kibbe, Benedek Kurdi, Myrto Mylopoulos, Joshua Shepherd, Alexis Wellwood, Nicolas Porot & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (12): e13225.
    “What is the structure of thought?” is as central a question as any in cognitive science. A classic answer to this question has appealed to a Language of Thought (LoT). We point to emerging research from disparate branches of the field that supports the LoT hypothesis, but also uncovers diversity in LoTs across cognitive systems, stages of development, and species. Our letter formulates open research questions for cognitive science concerning the varieties of rules and representations that underwrite various LoT-based systems (...)
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  5. The Perception-Cognition Border: A Case for Architectural Division.E. J. Green - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (3):323-393.
    A venerable view holds that a border between perception and cognition is built into our cognitive architecture and that this imposes limits on the way information can flow between them. While the deliverances of perception are freely available for use in reasoning and inference, there are strict constraints on information flow in the opposite direction. Despite its plausibility, this approach to the perception-cognition border has faced criticism in recent years. This article develops an updated version of the architectural approach, which (...)
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  6. Spatial perception: The perspectival aspect of perception.E. J. Green & Susanna Schellenberg - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (2):e12472.
    When we perceive an object, we perceive the object from a perspective. As a consequence of the perspectival nature of perception, when we perceive, say, a circular coin from different angles, there is a respect in which the coin looks circular throughout, but also a respect in which the coin's appearance changes. More generally, perception of shape and size properties has both a constant aspect—an aspect that remains stable across changes in perspective—and a perspectival aspect—an aspect that changes depending on (...)
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  7. Compositionality in visual perception.Alon Hafri, E. J. Green & Chaz Firestone - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e277.
    Quilty-Dunn et al.'s wide-ranging defense of the Language of Thought Hypothesis (LoTH) argues that vision traffics in abstract, structured representational formats. We agree: Vision, like language, is compositional – just as words compose into phrases, many visual representations contain discrete constituents that combine in systematic ways. Here, we amass evidence extending this proposal, and explore its implications for how vision interfaces with the rest of the mind.
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  8. Perceptual attribution and perceptual reference.Jake Quilty-Dunn & E. J. Green - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (2):273-298.
    Perceptual representations pick out individuals and attribute properties to them. This paper considers the role of perceptual attribution in determining or guiding perceptual reference to objects. We consider three extant models of the relation between perceptual attribution and perceptual reference–all attribution guides reference, no attribution guides reference, or a privileged subset of attributions guides reference–and argue that empirical evidence undermines all three. We then defend a flexible-attributives model, on which the range of perceptual attributives used to guide reference shifts adaptively (...)
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  9. A Layered View of Shape Perception.E. J. Green - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
    This article develops a view of shape representation both in visual experience and in subpersonal visual processing. The view is that, in both cases, shape is represented in a ‘layered’ manner: an object is represented as having multiple shape properties, and these properties have varying degrees of abstraction. I argue that this view is supported both by the facts about visual phenomenology and by a large collection of evidence in perceptual psychology. Such evidence is provided by studies of shape discriminability, (...)
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  10. A Theory of Perceptual Objects.E. J. Green - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):663-693.
    Objects are central in visual, auditory, and tactual perception. But what counts as a perceptual object? I address this question via a structural unity schema, which specifies how a collection of parts must be arranged to compose an object for perception. On the theory I propose, perceptual objects are composed of parts that participate in causally sustained regularities. I argue that this theory falls out of a compelling account of the function of object perception, and illustrate its applications to multisensory (...)
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  11.  36
    The puzzle of cross‐modal shape experience.E. J. Green - 2021 - Noûs 56 (4):867-896.
    The puzzle of cross-modal shape experience is the puzzle of reconciling the apparent differences between our visual and haptic experiences of shape with their apparent similarities. This paper proposes that we can resolve the cross-modal puzzle by reflecting on another puzzle. The puzzle of perspectival character challenges us to reconcile the variability of shape experience through shifts in perspective with its constancy. An attractive approach to the latter puzzle holds that shape experience is complex, involving both perspectival aspects and constant (...)
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  12. On the Perception of Structure.E. J. Green - 2017 - Noûs 53 (3):564-592.
    Many of the objects that we perceive have an important characteristic: When they move, they change shape. For instance, when you watch a person walk across a room, her body constantly deforms. I suggest that we exercise a type of perceptual constancy in response to changes of this sort, which I call structure constancy. In this paper I offer an account of structure constancy. I introduce the notion of compositional structure, and propose that structure constancy involves perceptually representing an object (...)
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  13. Use Your Illusion: Spatial Functionalism, Vision Science, and the Case Against Global Skepticism.E. J. Green & Gabriel Oak Rabin - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (4):345-378.
  14. Whither naive realism? - I.Alex Byrne & E. J. Green - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives:1-20.
    Different authors offer subtly different characterizations of naïve realism. We disentangle the main ones and argue that illusions provide the best proving ground for naïve realism and its main rival, representationalism. According to naïve realism, illusions never involve per- ceptual error. We assess two leading attempts to explain apparent perceptual error away, from William Fish and Bill Brewer, and conclude that they fail. Another lead- ing attempt is assessed in a companion paper, which also sketches an alternative representational account.
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  15. Can We Perceive the Past?E. J. Green - forthcoming - In Sara Aronowitz & Lynn Nadel (eds.), Space, Time, and Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    A prominent view holds that perception and memory are distinguished at least partly by their temporal orientation: Perception functions to represent the present, while memory functions to represent the past. Call this view perceptual presentism. This chapter critically examines perceptual presentism in light of contemporary perception science. I adduce evidence for three forms of perceptual sensitivity to the past: (i) shaping perception by past stimulus exposure, (ii) recruitment of mnemonic representations in perceptual processing, and (iii) perceptual representation of present objects (...)
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  16.  26
    Perceptual constancy and perceptual representation.E. J. Green - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Perceptual constancy has played a significant role in philosophy of perception. It figures in debates about direct realism, color ontology, and the minimal conditions for perceptual representation. Despite this, there is no general consensus about what constancy is. I argue that an adequate account of constancy must distinguish it from three distinct phenomena: mere sensory stability through proximal change, perceptual categorization of a distal dimension, and stability through irrelevant proximal change. Standard characterizations of constancy fall short in one or more (...)
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  17.  71
    Representing shape in sight and touch.E. J. Green - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (4):694-714.
    We represent shape in both sight and touch, but how do these abilities relate to one another? This issue has been discussed in the context of Molyneux's question of whether someone born blind could, upon being granted sight, identify shapes visually. Some have suggested that we might look to real‐world cases of sight restoration to illuminate the relation between visual and tactual shape representations. Here, I argue that newly sighted perceivers should not be relied on in this way because they (...)
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  18. The Multisensory Perception of Persistence.E. J. Green - 2023 - In Aleksandra Mroczko-Wąsowicz & Rick Grush (eds.), Sensory Individuals: Unimodal and Multimodal Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter examines how our sense modalities interact in the perception of persistence. The chapter concentrates on two questions. The first concerns perceptual processing—do perceptual computations of object persistence ever integrate and compute over representations from more than one modality? It argues that this question should be answered affirmatively. The second question concerns perceptual experience—do experiences of object persistence ever exhibit a constitutively multisensory phenomenal character, or is the phenomenology of object persistence always uniquely associated with just one modality? The (...)
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  19. Hill on Perceptual Relativity and Perceptual Error.E. J. Green - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Christopher Hill’s Perceptual Experience is a must-read for philosophers of mind and cognitive science. Here I consider Hill’s representationalist account of spatial perception. I distinguish two theses defended in the book. The first is that perceptual experience does not represent the enduring, intrinsic properties of objects, such as intrinsic shape or size. The second is that perceptual experience does represent certain viewpoint-dependent properties of objects—namely, Thouless properties. I argue that Hill’s arguments do not establish the first thesis, and then I (...)
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  20.  36
    Binding and differentiation in multisensory object perception.E. J. Green - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4457-4491.
    Cognitive scientists have long known that the modalities interact during perceptual processing. Cross-modal illusions like the ventriloquism effect show that the course of processing in one modality can alter the course of processing in another. But how do the modalities interact in the specific domain of object perception? This paper distinguishes and analyzes two kinds of multisensory interaction in object perception. First, the modalities may bind features to a single object or event. Second, the modalities may cooperate when differentiating an (...)
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  21.  65
    Representationalism and Perceptual Organization.E. J. Green - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (2):121-148.
    Some philosophers have suggested that certain shifts in perceptual organization are counterexamples to representationalism about phenomenal character. Representationalism about phenomenal character is, roughly, the view that there can be no difference in the phenomenal character of experience without a difference in the representational content of experience. In this paper, I examine three of these alleged counterexamples: the dot array (Peacocke 1983), the intersecting lines (Speaks 2010), and the 3 X 3 grid (Nickel 2007). I identify the two features of their (...)
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  22.  66
    Attentive Visual Reference.E. J. Green - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (1):3-38.
    Many have held that when a person visually attends to an object, her visual system deploys a representation that designates the object. Call the referential link between such representations and the objects they designate attentive visual reference. In this article I offer an account of attentive visual reference. I argue that the object representations deployed in visual attention—which I call attentive visual object representations —refer directly, and are akin to indexicals. Then I turn to the issue of how the reference (...)
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    Psychosemantics and the rich/thin debate.E. J. Green - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):153-186.
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  24. The Sources of Intentionality, by Uriah Kriegel. [REVIEW]E. J. Green - 2015 - Mind 124 (493):366-370.